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2 Calgary massage businesses ticketed for reopening too soon amid COVID-19 pandemic

2 Calgary businesses open prematurely, face fines and closure
WATCH: Calgary's joint business inspection task force found two massage businesses over the May long weekend that had opened prematurely. Blake Lough reports.

Over the May long weekend, Calgary officials handed out tickets to two Calgary businesses for reopening their doors prematurely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Fines of $1,000 were issued to two massage parlours for operating when they’re not supposed to,” Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) chief Tom Sampson, said during a news conference on Tuesday.

Businesses react to Alberta’s relaunch strategy for Calgary and Brooks
Businesses react to Alberta’s relaunch strategy for Calgary and Brooks

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi noted that massage therapy, along with body rub practitioners, is part of Phase 2 in the province’s relaunch strategy — meaning they should not be reopening until Phase 1 has been completed and assessed, Nenshi said.

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“Both massage therapy, and what we call in our bylaw, body rub practitioners, are not currently allowed to open. Those are actually part of stage two, which will not happen for some time yet,” he said.

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“Whatever kind of businesses we see that are operating outside of their ability to be open, they will get a talking to and they’ll probably get a closure order as well.”

Sampson also noted that, over the weekend, officers issued 135 warnings related to public health violations and issued five tickets for alcohol use in public parks.

READ MORE: Alberta releases business guides for COVID-19 reopening plan

During Tuesday’s update, officials also noted that Calgary’s state of local emergency has been renewed and while the limit for outdoor social gatherings has increased to 50 people, physical distancing rules still remain in effect.

“Outdoor gatherings have been moved to 50 people now, and that’s a new number for us,” Sampson said.

“But I’m asking you to continue with your relatively small circle.

“Indoor gatherings still remain at a maximum of 15 people and two-metre distancing still remains in place.”

Over the long weekend, Sampson said many Calgarians were compliant with public health orders and utilized the outdoors with caution. He added that Calgary’s golf courses, in particular, saw high usage numbers after opening on Thursday.

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“We have heard that on-course golfers were excellent at maintaining distancing,” Sampson said.

Sampson added that 4,198 people have played golf on city-owned courses since the facilities opened last week and those same facilities have also received more than 5,800 bookings for future dates.

READ MORE: Calgary golf courses ready for hectic opening weekend amid COVID-19 restrictions

On Tuesday, Sampson also noted that following a COVID-19 outbreak at the city’s waste and recycling centre last week, Cascades has now been reopened and is operating at 50 per cent capacity.

He noted that while the city will still be collecting residents’ blue bins, since the facility is not yet functioning at its full capacity, some collected recyclables may still have to be taken to the landfill this week.

He advised that, if possible, Calgarians hold back their recycling for one more week to avoid overwhelming the facility which is expected to be back to normal sometime next week.

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